NOTICE 4/5/2024 @ 7:30am: North Kent Waste & Recycling Center is in the final stretch of its expansion construction. Our recycling drop-off stations at this site have been temporarily moved — click here for the details. Stay tuned here on our website or our social media for updates!

Here’s the Dos and Don’ts of spring cleaning – WZZM

April 15, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The weather is warm and people are spring cleaning. The Kent County Recycling Center and Grand Rapids compost site are busy with people cleaning out their homes.

However, there are some things that should stay out of the recycling bins or yard waste piles.

For yard waste, remove any rocks, trash, asphalt, concrete and plastic.

“Hanging baskets are very common that end up here,” said John Gorney, public works director for Grand Rapids, “Those can be cleaned out and actually be recycled at the recycling facility.”

The City of Grand Rapids offers curbside and drop off yard waste. That ends up at the compost site at 2001 Butterworth St. SW.

“End of the day, we’re creating a usable product from yard waste.” said Gorney, “And we’d like to keep it as clean as possible.”

Meanwhile, recycling objects found in your home can make a big difference. There are some things to leave out of the bins, however.

Scrap metal is a problem for machines. This time of year, lawn mower blades are often found in recycling and they can slice up the conveyer belts.

Scrap metal can instead be left at scrap metal drop offs, which often offer money.

Other items like oil, weed killer and propane tanks can be recycled, but should not go in the bins for pick up. They should be dropped off at one of five free hazardous waste drop offs in Kent County.

Electronics also can be recycled but not placed in bins. These should be dropped off at special electronic collection drop offs.

“The amount of material that we’re processing really doesn’t allow for us to sort through all of the recycled items,” said Katelyn Kikstra, waste reduction educator, “We really want our residents and businesses to have that knowledge of where to put things.”

Kent County’s Spring Clean Recycling Guide includes these tips:

Do put in your recycling bin:

  • Cartons and cans.
  • Corrugated plastic yard signs: just the sign only, remove plastic or metal stand.
  • Paper: no shredded paper.
  • Aluminum trays and tin foil.
  • Plastic buckets and containers.

Do NOT put in your recycling bin:

  • Scrap metal: Two free scrap metal drop-offs at North and South Kent facilities.
  • Chemicals and cleaners: bring to SafeChem locations for free.
  • Garden Hoses: try to reuse.
  • Flexible plastics: mulch, soil, bird feed bags. Many retailers that recycle plastic grocery bags will also accept these.
  • Bulky plastics: such as playhouses, toys, and greenhouse roofing. Try to reuse or a commercial recycler.
  • Propane Tanks: small camping tanks can be disposed of for free through SafeChem. Larger tanks will have a fee and need to go to North or South Kent facilities.
  • Paints and stains: one dry, latex paint can go in the trash. Aerosol and oil-based paints and stains can be disposed of at SafeChem locations.
  • Electronics: most can be recycled for free through North and South Kent facilities.

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